Posts categorized as History

Faces in the crowd: Zooming in on our photography collection

Boys sit in a grandstand with one hiding his face behind a sheet of paper

If you look close enough you might find things you missed. Collections Data Technician Gareth Watkins uncovers the characters hidden in plain sight. I’ve always been fascinated with photographs of crowds. You get a palpable sense of in-the-moment energy and anticipation as spectators watch an event unfold before them, for example at a rugby game. But… Read more »

Help us identify some 17th century butterflies, moths, and bugs: Part II

Hollar blog 2 plate 9

This is the second part to Dr Mark Stocker’s series of blogs asking you to help identify a number of butterflies, moths, and other insects in a series of 17th century prints by Anglo-Czech etcher Wenceslaus Hollar. Mark has been working with Te Papa bug experts Dr Phil Sirvid and Dr Julia Kasper to identify the insects but they… Read more »

Metamorphosis and pineapples: The illustrations of Maria Sibylla Merian

Detail from The Surinam Album

Who was Maria Sibylla Merian? Librarian Christine Kiddey uncovers the fascinating story of the woman behind the remarkable The Surinam Album, full of lavish illustrations of flora and fauna from the former Dutch colony of Suriname in South America. Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) was born in Frankfurt into a family of artists and book publishers, and… Read more »

Help us identify some 17th century butterflies, moths, and bugs

Hollar blog 6

Think you know your bugs? Art curator Dr Mark Stocker has been working on a project along with our bug experts, Dr Phil Sirvid and Dr Julia Kasper, to identify a number of butterflies, moths, and other insects (including a snail) in some 17th century prints by Anglo-Czech etcher Wenceslaus Hollar. But they haven’t managed to identify them… Read more »

Garments as canvases and zero waste design: The work of Greta Menzies

  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work. Photographs courtesy of Greta Menzies
  • Examples of Greta Menzies’ work

What comes to mind when you think of textile design? Fashion? Furnishing? Cloth? Curatorial intern Sonya Withers looks at the work of Greta Menzies. Textile designers are hard to pin, as their practice can span multiple mediums, spaces, and creative thinking. International examples have shown technical experimentation in the defence force around wearable tech that… Read more »

Buongiorno! Ecco l’arte italiana! Italian Art at Te Papa

Marco Ricci

Ciao a tutti! Dr Mark Stocker, Curator Historical International Art, takes a look at some of the fascinating and beautiful Italian art that’s in Te Papa’s collection. Marco’s journey takes us from Venice to Naples, and through 300 years of history. Andiamo – let’s go! I need zero excuses to explore and celebrate historical Italian art… Read more »

Old new money: New Zealand’s decimal currency turns 50

Practice money, $1 note, 1967, New Zealand, by Decimal Currency Board. Te Papa (GH023090/8)

History curator Kirstie Ross looks back 50 years to July 1967 when the contents of New Zealanders’ pockets and purses changed radically after the country shifted from pounds, shillings, and pence – to dollars and cents. Going decimal In 1963, the government decided that the country would decimalise its currency. Wellingtonian James Berry designed the decimal… Read more »

Award-winning garments from the rag pile

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  • 1780s-style dress pieced together from an unpicked 1730s dress. Te Papa (PC002687)
  • Opera cape made in the 1920s from a 1910s skirt. Te Papa  (PC003668)

Before you throw out your tired bits of clothing, consider giving them new life through upcycling. Senior history curator Claire Regnault highlights a collection of garments acquired by Te Papa in 2015 that are made from material originally destined for landfill. Recently I attended an illustrated talk by Beth Brown-Reinsel, an American practitioner and writer who… Read more »